Albert Hall's giant organ silenced (all 9,990 pipes)

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The Independent Culture

Its 9,990 pipes were designed to resonate to the ends of the Empire and have been painstakingly restored in a three-year, £1.7m project - but Britain's largest organ fell silent after a temporary glitch.

Its 9,990 pipes were designed to resonate to the ends of the Empire and have been painstakingly restored in a three-year, £1.7m project - but Britain's largest organ fell silent after a temporary glitch.

The Royal Albert Hall confirmed yesterday that the mighty instrument, known as The Voice of Jupiter, suffered an electrical fault before an evening BBC Proms performance on Saturday.

"The Voice of Jupiter was working fine in the afternoon performance, but simply did not work in the evening," said a Royal Albert Hall spokesman.

The conductor, Sakari Oramo, explained to the audience that the organ would be replaced by an electronic synth- esiser before Saturday night's second piece, Charles Ives's complex Fourth Symphony.

"Immediately afterwards there was a muffled howl of derision from the Prom-goers," said one audience member.

Members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra also played Leonard Bernstein's Hebrew Chichester Psalms and Igor Stravinsky's Petrushka during the concert.

It was confirmed last night that the instrument had been repaired and would be ready for all future performances.

"There was a temporary interruption in the power supply to the main console and steps have been taken to ensure this does not recur," the Royal Albert Hall said.

The organ was once used to drown out the noise of suffragette hecklers as Lloyd George gave a speech in the Albert Hall.

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